HK retail industry facing massive closures after drastic drop in mainland visitor number
Arrivals to Hong Kong in the first half of 2015 grew only 2.8%, the slowest rate of growth since 2009 and retail industry is bracing itself for a wave of shop closures.
As visitor arrivals to Hong Kong in the first half of 2015 grew only 2.8%, the slowest rate of growth in visitor numbers since the third quarter of 2009, the local retail industry is bracing itself for a wave of shop closures after the next Chinese New Year. Small and medium-sized shops will be hardest hit and at least 10,000 layoffs are expected.
Dire straits forecasted for HK's small retailers
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said the overall number of tourists fell 8.4% y-o-y in July due to economic uncertainties, stock market volatility, devaluation of the yuan and “uncivilized and radical actions targeting tourists”.
The dwindling number of tourists has already had a visible economic effect. The Hong Kong Retail Management Association’s former chairman and honorary advisor Bankee Kwan predicts that a large number of small and medium-sized shops will go out of business after the next Chinese New Year.
Currently, residents from 49 mainland Chinese cities can apply for the independent travel entry/exit permit to Hong Kong. Deputy Chairman of Hong Kong’s New People’s Party and Legislative Councilor Michael Tien said he has proposed to the HKSAR chief to open up Hong Kong for independent travel from all first-tier cities, while maintaining the restriction of independent mainland visitor numbers with annual quotas.
Hong Kong’s Liberal Party leader Vincent Fang also urges the Hong Kong government to petition the Central government to open up more cities for independent travel to Hong Kong, to rescue the SAR’s retail industry from its current dire straits.(Translation by David)